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Battle of Svolder, 1000 AD – A Viking Saga

Battle of Svolder, 1000 AD – A Viking Saga


It is the late 10th century. Olaf Tryggvason recently deposed and killed
Haakon Jarl, becoming king of Norway. Determined to keep his kingdom independent
from foreign rule brings him into conflict with the Danish king Sven Forkbeard. Olaf’s epic saga is about to culminate in
the Battle of Svolder… Since his birth in the mid 960’s, Olaf’s life was to be a struggle to survive, from one battle to the next. After the murder of his father, King Tryggve,
Olaf’s mother Astrid takes him and flees to her father’s home in Oppland, to save her
son from certain death. The pair spend the next couple of years on
the run, narrowly avoiding capture in Sweden, before setting off to Novgorod, where Astrid’s
brother Sigurd is in the service of Prince Vladimir I But during the voyage, Osilian Vikings intercept
their ship. Those onboard are either killed or sold into
slavery. Over the next 6 years Olaf is sold and resold
as a slave until he is 9 years old, when his uncle finds him while collecting taxes in Estonia. He sends the boy to Novgorod, where Olaf receives
military training and eventually becomes a prominent member of Vladimir’s retinue. But over the years the prince of Novgorod
becomes uncomfortable with Olaf’s growing popularity, and the young man decides it’s
best to seek his fortune elsewhere. Olaf and his men set out to raid the ports
and settlements along the Baltic coast. Caught in a storm he makes port in Wendland. There he courts and marries Geira, a Wendish
princess, and together with her father he fights for Otto III against the Danes. Just two years later Olaf’s wife dies, leaving
him grief-stricken. He leaves Wendland and takes to the sea. He raids the coasts of Saksland, Friesland,
France and England. Along the way Olaf wages many battles, and
acquires much wealth. His marauding venture takes him past the Hebrides
and the Isle of man. Finally, he reaches the Isles of Scilly. According to legend, there he meets a monk
from a tiny Christian community, possibly the followers of Priscillian who were exiled
from Spain. The monk prophesizes about Olaf’s future kingship. Convinced, Olaf converts to Christianity. After his baptism, he sails to Ireland to
attend a gathering called by Gyda, the princes of Dublin, who is looking for a husband. From a group of suitors she singles out Olaf. The couple marries soon after. Over the next three years, Olaf is again raiding
the coast of England. In the battle of Maldon he is one of the three
key leaders that defeat the Anglo-Saxons, extracting a vast tribute of over 3 tons of
silver from King Aethelred II. After further raids and a failed attack on
London, a peace treaty is signed in 994 AD. Olaf then spends time administering his wife’s
properties in England and Ireland, when he gets fired up by reports of political unrest
in his homeland and again sets sail, this time to assert his right to the throne. Back in Norway, Haakon Sigurdsson is the de-facto ruler. Unpopular for mistreating the local elites,
his position is further weakened by constant warring against the Danish king Sweyn Forkbeard. But… rumors from across the sea reach the
ears of Haakon and Sweyn, about a king, the great-grandson of Harald Fairhair himself,
coming to unite Norway under his rule. Olaf arrives in autumn of 995 AD and is unanimously
proclaimed as king, while the deposed Haakon is killed. Olaf begins a systematic, often brutal, conversion
of the country to Christianity, and by 997 AD he looks to strengthen his position in
Scandinavia. King Sweyn Forkbeard controls the lands to
the south. Although the two fought together side-by-side
in the attack on London in 994, that alliance was driven by profit. Now, in Sweyn’s view, Olaf controls Norwegian
lands that rightfully belong to Denmark. Olaf turns east, attempting to secure an alliance
with Sweden. He tries to woo queen Sigrid into marrying
him, but she refuses his overtures, unwilling to abandon her pagan beliefs. The ever mindful Sweyn, already allied with
Jarl Eric (son of the deposed Haakon), makes a well timed political move and marries Sigrid
himself, forming a formidable alliance against Olaf. To complicate matters further, Sweyn’s sister
Thyri marries Olaf, despite still being married to Burislav, king of Wendland, who already
received a large dowry for her from the Danish king. Burislav refuses to hand over Thyri’s dowry
to Olaf. According to the sagas, this prompts the Norwegian
king to sail for Wendland to retrieve it, by force if necessary. However, the more likely reason for his voyage to Wendland is to recruit allies for the war that is surely coming. And although he is not very successful, Olaf is joined by Jarl Sigvaldi and other Wendish ships. While returning to Norway with his new ally,
the enemy coalition is spotted, lying in wait. Sweyn lets most of the Norwegian fleet to
pass unhindered. But then, Sigvaldi accelerates away, having
previously made a pact with the Danish king to help lure Olaf into an ambush. Betrayed by his ally, Olaf faces a fleet of
71 ships with only 11 ships of his own. Although he still has time to deploy his sails
and rowers to make his escape, the Norwegian king refuses to back down. He ropes his ships together, thereby creating
a floating fort with his own large ship, The Long Serpent, in the center. A makeshift barrier of oars and yards is put
up to prevent the enemy from fully utilizing their superior numbers. Sweyn also lashes his ships side to side and
moves quickly towards the Norwegians, confident of victory. Olaf encourages his men by dismissing the
Danes and Swedes with ethnic insults and bravado, but warns that Eric’s Norwegians are dangerous. Once they are close enough, both sides unleash
volleys of arrows. Soon after, Sweyn’s fleet crashes into Olaf’s
ships. Fierce, bloody fighting errupts. First the Danes and then the Swedes attack
from the front, but they are met with stiff resistance and suffer heavy casualties. Sweyn’s numerical advantage is almost completely
negated by Olaf’s determined warriors. The outnumbered Norwegians,
densely packed behind their barricades, repel one attack after the other, fighting their
enemy to a deadlock. Fearing they might lose the battle, Eric moves
to attack Olaf’s flank. He pulls his men back to his ship, the Iron
Ram. He pushes his men to row faster. They soon round the Norwegian flank. From the Iron Ram’s taller deck, Eric’s men
descend on the smaller ship. Olaf’s men fight bravely, but aren’t able
to hold their ground, as more and more enemy troops swarm their position. With overwhelming numbers, Eric clears one
ship at a time and fights his way towards the center. By late afternoon, Olaf’s ship is surrounded. 500 of his best warriors close rank on the
massive Long Serpent, the mightiest ship in the North. Heavy fighting ensues, with Danes and Swedes
unable to fight their way up onto the tall platform of the Long Serpent. But after heavy losses, it is Eric’s men who
finally manage to climb aboard. Vastly outnumbered and exhausted, most of
the Long Serpent’s crew is killed, drowned or captured. The final clash is hard-fought as Olaf still
stands and fights together with his immediate retinue, who are loyal to their king until
the end. Finally, Olaf is one of the last men standing,
his enemies intent on capturing him. Refusing to allow himself to be taken alive,
he makes a fateful decision. In full armor and carrying his shield, King
Olaf Tryggvason jumps overboard and disappeares beneath the waves… After the defeat at Svolder, Norway is divided
between Jarl Sweyn Haakonsson, his brother Eric Haakonsson, and the Danish King Sven
Forkbeard. Although his enemies divided his kingdom,
Olaf was remembered for centuries to come.

100 thoughts on “Battle of Svolder, 1000 AD – A Viking Saga

  1. There is a narration error right at the beginning of the video, mixing up the year 960 with 1960. We sincerely apologize and we hope you will enjoy the video. If you do, please remember to like and subscribe. HistoryMarche is just a tiny team of two people, so any support from viewers would really help our channel. And if you're able to make a small pledge on Patreon to help the channel grow, that would be awesome: https://www.patreon.com/historymarche

  2. Fuck Olav Trygvasson, he should have instead reformed germanic paganism into a modern religion..

  3. Borislav is The Bolesław The Brave Polish King .His sister is Świętosława,called in scandinavia Sigrida Storrada.She is mother Kannut The Great.

  4. In the mid 1960's as the Hippie movement exploded in the acid revolution poor old Olaf found himself in a world he did not understand. Sure the hair was long, crystals seemed cool and the Berzerker fueling mushrooms seemed familiar as well as the pagan dancing style but all this pacifism and the 'Peace and Love' stuff completely mystified him. When do we get the party over and get going. Summer is here and it is time to go a viking for some good plunder, rape and pillaging. What the hell is wrong with these people (pretty women though!!). If he had only been born 30 years later he could have enjoyed Black Metal, Varg Vikernes and the neo Pagan neo Nazis; much more his style!

  5. actually now that i live in Denmark, i've heard this story quite a few times throghout the history of kinder garten and school

  6. Have been getting an "An error occurred. Please try again later" for the last week straight with this video. Sad, it looks like a really cool one.

  7. Tryggvasson was a clueless geriatric honorless christian ass muncher who fell for christian lies of greed and i dont care who says what about it, the true kings of sweden was any king before that bastard Olof Skötkonung and i dont care if people call me out for that
    Hail Forkbeard!
    Hail Blot Sweyn!
    (ik forkbeard was christian but we all know his repertoire against Adam of Bremen so dont you dare tell me that guy wasn't pagan through and through)

  8. what a great channel, nothing but love peace and respect to all my fellow history geeks. please do more, your video a day keeps doctor away. I hope you can cover Napoleon wars, muslims wars against vikings in andalues… you have a great voice for a commentator, love from Saudi Arabia

  9. Flashpoint, Historymarche, History time, People profile, epic history and kings and generals are the equivalent of the AVENGERS TEAM of History channels on YouTube

  10. Queen Sigrid (polish princess Świętosława) wasn't pagan, because Poland was christian already. What's more it was Olaf who rejected her love, that's why she plotted against him and married Sven to get her revenge.

  11. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2XV2Vn7YJrM&ab_channel=BazBattles
    This video tells a different story… or is it a different character? I'm confused.

  12. Haakon broke his allegiance to Denmark. Harald Bluetooth had suffered defeat from Otto II, Holy Roman Emperor during 974. Haakon took advantage of the weakened position of the Danish king to make Norway independent of Denmark. So there should be no reason to write (Denmark) under Norway and Lade during that time period. I still loved the video. Keep up the good work!

    I would love to see the Battle of Hjörungavágr where Haakon Jarl defeats the Danish invasion fleet of Jomsvikings sent by Sweyn Forkbeard.

  13. Can you imagine the scene – Sploosh "Did he just jump over the side? Well..err…thats a bit of an anticlimax to be honest. Was he wearing a crown? Well thats just fucking great isn't it? Its now 300metres down at the bottom of the fjord. No independent witnesses, so no one will believe it when i say i'm the King and haven't got his crown! You guys had one job, take him alive so i could gloat and lord over him drag him back to the kingdom imprison and kill him publically, and you cocked it up!"

  14. Even a thousand years ago life is more amazing than fiction. I'm in awe of this man Olaf Tryggvason. I had never heard of him or I don't remember. Thanks for putting his story together like you did. I won't forget him now.

  15. you have an amazing series mate! keep up the great work! Go for Ancient Indian, Chinese and Japanese history too, its amazing!

  16. Love the presentation of it. I do have the Viking sagas but to be honest I find them dull to read. Much prefer a summarized version of this particular event.

  17. Hello, i am regularly see historymarche channel , u guys make really make some amazing task.It seems that your video is well research. It will be grateful you make video about South South East Asian war.

  18. Olaf Tryggvason and Harald Hardråde would make great movie characters with the right director at the helm. Their lives had more than enough of the ingredients for an interesting movie: drama, tragedies, humiliation, underdog, top dog, epic adventures, kingship, breaking bad, betrayals, epic last stands, etc. All in one historic character.

  19. I hated whoever fabricated that the Viking helmets were adorn with a horns..Actually there's no horns nor shape of wings ever attached to the Viking helmets at all

  20. He lived an adventurous and heroic life (who also gets the pretty princesses along the way), Olaf is man among men. But a bit rash, though if the allied fleet didn't betray him, he could have won, and north Europe history would have changed forever.

  21. Legend has it King Olaf is wandering the ocean floor in full armour to this day in search of his beloved Norway, but frustrated by the absence of any stars to guide him.

  22. The people here in the svions and vikings old land are still so mean that they would prefer to kill each other sneaking around they whish to be silent many have dogs running freely around barking on each other I´m laughing how insane they are. One must listen during the nights. But I´m a kind man in reality but especially one man who is a wolf killer with strong binoculars is bragging he can see me when he wish. It´s ten years since we spoke. A free diver who sailed lonely over the atlantic is a special variant of this mean race. Cold like ice free diving 60 m. I just love it here in Beowulfs home country. A 15 m plesiosaur was seen 2008 and 2010 around Hravnsness the Grendel ness. I gave her the name Doris. This is true. Seals are around too. It´s just 90 km north of Gothenburg, a land with beautiful mountains and fjords. There is an official historybook about this area named Viken or Bohuslän Dal I could only read half then a I felt very bad and unhappy because it was such a terrible story going on to the beginning of 1900 full of wars burnings plundering pestilence destroyed cities and villages drowning fishermen hardship. Just awful. Sad to say but so it was! The svions danes, norse and west goths were fighting all the time and plundering each other.

  23. There's a massive tomb on a hill island in Bohuslän. Really amazingly done i can't imagine how they carried those boulders up there.
    And the Tomb belongs to King Tryggve which was Olav tryggvasons father. The island is called Tryggö. If you are interested in Viking history and remains from that era i highly recommend visiting it.
    (Now Swedish Bohuslän) close to Smögen.

  24. "What is that has broken with such a terrible noise" King Olaf shouted at Einar.
    "Norway, from thy hands, my king" Einar Tambarskelfr answered, throwing his bow, broken in two.
    " no! Not as terrible as that, take, use mine! "The king commanded with a hint of desperation in his voice, giving his bow to Einar.
    Tambarskelfr took it and said "it's to weak a bow for a strong king"
    Then, Einar Tambarskelfr took sword and shield, and fought bravely till the end.

    I love this battle when I read about it years ago! I even composed a song about it! 😀

  25. Damn. History is often poorly written.
    King Olaf should have won that battle, and then gone on to reign wisely and well for many years in Norway.
    Sometimes, reality sucks.

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